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What is Probate and how does it work?

What is Probate?

Probate is the term used to describe the process of dealing with the property and finances in the estate of someone who has passed away. 

When someone passes away, the Executors named in the Will or the Administrators (if there is no Will) are the people responsible for dealing with the deceased’s estate. 

When is a Grant of Probate Required? 

You may be able to deal with the deceased’s estate without a Grant of Probate, for example if all assets are held in joint names and therefore pass automatically to the surviving owner. 

If a property is held in the sole name of the deceased or with another person as ‘Tenants in Common’, then a Grant of Probate will be required to sell or transfer the deceased’s share in the property. 

Each financial institution has its own set of rules as to whether a Grant of Probate is required to release the funds they hold. If the proceeds are over a specific amount (ranging from £5,000 to £50,000), the financial institution may request to see a Grant of Probate before releasing them. 

How to Apply for a Grant of Probate 

An application for a Grant of Probate is submitted to the Probate Registry with a fee. An Inheritance Tax return will need to be completed and submitted and the Executors or Administrators of the estate are required to pay off any outstanding debts of the deceased before distributing the estate to the rightful beneficiaries. 

Executors or Administrators are also required to prepare a set of Estate Accounts which could be requested by the Court at any time. The correct Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax also needs to be paid to the Inland Revenue. 

How Can We Help You? 

There are three options available to you: 

  1. 1. If you are considering applying for a Grant of Probate yourself, you may wish to approach us for a ‘one-off’ meeting or a letter of advice before you begin the process. 
  1. 2. We could apply for the Grant of Probate on your behalf for a fixed fee. You would provide us with all the valuations of the assets in the estate and we will complete the Inheritance Tax form and Statement for Executors or Administrators on your behalf. 
  1. 3. We could deal with the whole administration for you. We will value the estate, prepare the relevant forms as above and distribute the estate in accordance with the terms of the Will. 

When applying for probate themselves, Executors or Administrators often do not consider the complexities involved when dealing with a deceased’s person’s estate and the fact that Executors or Administrators can be held personally liable for any mistakes that are made. We would therefore always recommend that you approach a Solicitor for some advice when dealing with a deceased’s estate.

If you would like a confidential discussion about how we can help, please contact a member of our team for further information. 

You can contact our team by clicking here.

To keep up with the latest Wills & Probate news you can follow me on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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Lucy Court | Solicitor